Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Road to The Show™: White Sox prospect Gonzalez

Slugging shortstop follows familiar development track to South Side
Jacob Gonzalez was selected by the White Sox with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2023 Draft. (Charles Ralston/
February 27, 2024's Road to the Show Scouting Report series spotlights players who are just starting their professional careers, focusing on what the experts are projecting for these young phenoms. Here's a look at fourth-ranked White Sox prospect Jacob Gonzalez. For more player journeys on The Road to The Show, click here.'s Road to the Show Scouting Report series spotlights players who are just starting their professional careers, focusing on what the experts are projecting for these young phenoms. Here's a look at fourth-ranked White Sox prospect Jacob Gonzalez. For more player journeys on The Road to The Show, click here.

When it comes to Draft prospects, the White Sox don’t just have a type – their type has a type.

Chicago selected Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez with its first-round pick last year. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound lefty slugger cites Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager as inspiration for a player with his size and skill set to not just stick but excel at the premium position.

Gonzalez isn’t the only player in the system to draw comparisons to Seager. Top White Sox prospect Colson Montgomery not only shares some similar bullet points on his scouting report, but his swing also bears a strong resemblance to that of the No. 1 shortstop in baseball right now.

Gonzalez, the fourth-ranked White Sox prospect, played exclusively at shortstop during a well-decorated career at Ole Miss. He led the Rebels to a College World Series championship in 2022 and was's National Freshman of the Year the previous season. Over three college seasons, he batted .319 with a .988 OPS, 40 homers and 158 RBIs. He also compiled more walks (123 total) than strikeouts (94) in each season.

After the Draft, Gonzalez played 34 games in his first Minor League season, all but four of which came with Single-A Kannapolis. He didn’t immediately recapture the same success at the plate that he had at Ole Miss. The 21-year-old batted .211/.333/.260 with a homer and 17 RBIs. But he did have nearly as many walks (23) as strikeouts (25). He remained at shortstop, committing six errors and posting a .961 fielding percentage.

“Everyone questions my defense, always. I always keep wanting to get better,” Gonzalez told in September. “This past season I didn’t hit that good. It’s not going to be the same. I’m going to hit better than that. Just working on how my body moves when I’m hitting and perfecting it so that it’s easier. There are already too many disadvantages while you are hitting.”

The Whittier, California, native has stood out since before he reached middle school. As a 9-year-old in 2011, Gonzalez was the third baseman for SGV Hustle, a local travel ball team that went across the country to compete in the Elite 32 World Series.

At Glendora High School, Gonzalez was a two-sport star that set school records as a quarterback, passing for 4,487 yards and 62 touchdowns. He posted even better numbers on the baseball field, batting no lower than .396 through his first three seasons before the pandemic cut his senior year short. He was a Perfect Game Underclassmen All-American three times, and he participated in the Perfect Game National Showcase in 2019.

Gonzalez ranked among the top 150 amateurs in the country out of high school but remained committed to Ole Miss, setting up one of the best freshman seasons in program history.

He led the Rebels with a .355 average, 73 runs, 93 hits and 16 doubles while adding 12 homers and 55 RBIs. Gonzalez was named a First-Team Freshman All-American by three different publications.

His brilliant freshman season also earned him an invite to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, where he also played after winning the CWS in 2022. During his sophomore year, Gonzalez clubbed a personal-best 18 homers with 52 RBIs while leading the team in runs (73), walks (50) and triples (3). His tremendous season ended with some fireworks as he went 3-for-4 with a solo shot, two RBIs and two runs scored in the championship clincher against Oklahoma.

In his junior season, Gonzalez was named a Brooks Wallace Award semifinalist and Second Team All-SEC as he batted .327/.435/.564 with 10 homers and 51 RBIs. He ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 18 Draft prospect and was selected by the White Sox at No. 15 overall. Gonzalez signed a below-slot value bonus of $3.9 million and made his professional debut in July in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League.

His time in Rookie ball lasted just four games, during which he recorded three hits and three walks in 12 at-bats.

Gonzalez slowed down a bit as he wrapped his season in Kannapolis. He batted .207 with a .589 OPS in 30 games, recording a homer and 13 RBIs with 16 runs scored.

The White Sox have plenty of reasons to take their time with Gonzalez’s development. He was not included among the club’s non-roster invitees at Spring Training. Chicago’s likely long-term solution to shortstop is Montgomery, who has yet to play above the Double-A level but was invited to big league camp this spring.

The club now has two similarly sized shortstops with similar skill sets to develop as it looks to the future.

Here's what the experts at MLB Pipeline have to say about Gonzalez:

Scouting grades (20-80 scale)
HIT: 55
RUN: 40
ARM: 55

“Gonzalez had a decorated college career at Mississippi. He earned national freshman of the year recognition in 2021, helped the Rebels win their College World Series championship in 2022 and started at shortstop for the U.S. collegiate national team both summers. The White Sox didn't expect him to get to their No. 15 pick in the first round and signed him for $3.9 million.

Gonzalez has the bat-to-ball skills and strike-zone control to be at least a solid hitter, and he was more consistent in 2023 after hunting home runs too much as a sophomore. With his strength, bat speed and the leverage in his left-handed stroke, he has 25-homer potential. He does a nice job of using the entire field, with most of his over-the-fence power going to his pull side.

While Gonzalez regularly displays below-average speed out of the batter's box, he may be quick enough to stay at shortstop. His instincts and rhythm help his cause at short, where he covers ground with long strides and has solid arm strength. Some evaluators wonder whether he'll have to shift to third base or second, but if so, he'd have the bat to profile as a quality regular at either position.”

Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for